Frazier to man point guard slot for ASU

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 17, 2005

LORMAN &8212; College scouts may have gotten it all wrong when they came in wanting to see a little 5-6 point guard who never quit.

Sure, there was 5-6 guy starring at Tampa Prep, but they were all thinking Alleo Frazier was a rail-thin, speedy guy who would struggle banging against bigger opponents or putting up shots from the outside.

They were wrong. Frazier, at 165 pounds, was perhaps the strongest person on his high school team. And today as a junior at Alcorn State, he may still have that honor after he maxed out at 315 on bench press two seasons ago.

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Sure, he&8217;s small. But Frazier makes up for it in every other department and may be the spark plug that makes the Braves go this season when they open up Friday at South Florida.

&8220;A lot of people like to have taller point guards,&8221; Frazier said. &8220;It was a bit of a problem. I had a lot of scouts to come to see me. They didn&8217;t realize how big I was. They thought I was 5-6 and 135. I got in the weight room my freshman year and have been sticking with it ever since.&8221;

His strength was never doubted &8212; he may have surprised everyone as a freshman when he banked in an off-balance 3-pointer at the buzzer against Jackson State to force a second overtime. After sitting out 2003-04 for a red-shirt, he came back last season and shared the point guard position.

Now as a junior, it&8217;s his. He may be small, but he&8217;s steady as can be, sees the floor and is this year trying to mold the team as his own.

&8220;He&8217;s still the smallest kid on the team and the strongest,&8221; ASU head coach Samuel West said. &8220;Right now he&8217;s my leader. As he goes, we go. He is very excited about leading the team, and I&8217;m very proud of his progress up until this point. He&8217;s been a little more emotional. I think he sees how I would like him to be my coach on the floor.&8221;

Frazier rotated in the position with DeAndre Jones last year after spending some of his freshman year as a starter under former head coach Davey Whitney. Jones didn&8217;t return this season, and Frazier will take the position as his own with freshman Jumane Reed and junior college transfer O&8217;Brian Calahan behind him in the rotation.

The Braves will have a significantly new team this season, but old faces still remain. And that&8217;s what has Frazier excited for the season to start.

&8220;I&8217;m very excited,&8221; Frazier said. &8220;I feel like I&8217;ve got a group of guys who will really listen to me, and I can be the general on the court. I feel like this year the team is mine. I&8217;m the coach on the court and can pretty much get them to do anything I need them to do in order for us to win.&8221;

Frazier&8217;s steady presence at the point could make a difference for a team that struggled last year on the offensive end outside of shooting guard Delvin Thompson. The Braves led the conference in turnovers with 572, their second straight season to lead that category after losing the ball 5xx times the previous season.

The Braves were one of the lowest-scoring teams in the SWAC while not making the conference tournament for the first time in school history.

&8220;He&8217;ll make better decisions this year,&8221; West said. &8220;He&8217;ll play more minutes this year, which should equal less turnovers.&8221;

Frazier&8217;s turnover total wasn&8217;t up as high as others, but his 75 giveaways were still significant for a point guard. Jones&8217; 82 was a team-high, and Thompson also had 75, but Frazier was by far the team&8217;s assist leader with 75.

Jones was second on the team in that category with 43.

&8220;That (turnovers) is a big emphasis,&8221; Frazier said. &8220;Team-wise, we still have a lot to work on as far as turnovers. I feel like if we get our fundamentals down, we&8217;ll do well to limit our turnovers. Our weight room will help us with the turnovers. If you&8217;re strong with ball, that&8217;ll limit the turnovers. That&8217;s been a major emphasis this year.&8221;

The best thing about Frazier taking over at point this season is he&8217;ll get a chance to start out at home when the Braves head to South Florida. Frazier&8217;s brother, Addrikk, starred with the Bulls as a senior in 1998 while Alleo was a freshman in high school.

It&8217;s also the start of a new season for the Braves, who don&8217;t want to repeat last year&8217;s disappointment of not making the tournament and finishing with a 7-22 overall record, the worst in school history since a 3-24 season in 1993-94.

&8220;Nobody wanted to remember last season,&8221; Frazier said. &8220;During the summer, we had the most people attending summer school and trying to better themselves. We don&8217;t want to have a season like we had last year ever again.

&8220;For the most part, we&8217;ve got the same group of guys. And with the additions to the team, they bring a positive attitude and a lot of energy to the team. They&8217;re trying to do everything coach asks them to do. With the addition of the new fellas, I feel we can really do something this year.&8221;